T-RackS 5 MAX by IK Multimedia Review

IK Multimedia’s T-RackS 5 is a comprehensive collection of different plugins you need for mixing and mastering your tracks. Besides mixing and mastering, you can use the plugins and single instances to improve the tonal quality of a single instrument or a vocal. I use the plugins also for sound design, shaping my instrument, to remove competing frequencies and low-end frequencies that overall sum up and make my track more clear.

When you just get started with mixing and mastering T-RackS 5 MAX is a great collection to get you started and adds plugins that you for the completeness do not have.

If you never worked with a compressor, EQ, limiter or some of the other modeled devices, you find plenty of presets that will give you good results to start.

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When you have more experiences, you will be able to select more careful which model of EQ you use and get even better results. T-RackS 5 MAX plugins can be used as a standard in your DAW as an insert plugin, as a plugin suite or in the standalone suite. I tested the plugins as part of a DAW as this is the typical use case for mixing engineers. IK Multimedia send a review copy with no strings attached.

Installation

You register a purchase and use an IK Multimedia download tool to authorize and download the bundle.

Sound

T-RackS 5 is available in three different bundles which differ by the included processors, with a standard version you get nine, with deluxe you get 22 plugins and with the max version you get all of the 38 plugins. We review T-RackS 5 MAX which includes 38 plugins.

The 38 plugins add to your toolbar, you receive compressors and limiters to equalizers, channel strips, reverbs, limiter, de-Esser, and more: Classic T-RackS Equalizer, Classic T-RackS Compressor, Classic T-RackS Clipper, Classic T-RackS Multi-band Limiter, EQual, ONE, Dyna-Mu, Master Match, Full Metering, British Channel, Black 76 Limiting Amplifier, White 2A Levelling Amplifier, Vintage Tube Compressor/Limiter Model 670, Quad Comp, Quad Lim, Quad Image, Vintage Tube Program Equalize, Opto Compressor, De-Esser, Brickwall Limiter, Linear Phase Equalizer, Mic Room, White Channel, Saturator X, Stealth Limiter, EQ PA, EQ PB, EQ PG, EQ 73, EQ 81, Master EQ 432, Bus Compressor, Precision Comp/Limiter, Tape Echo, CSR Hall Reverb, CSR Plate Reverb, CSR Room Reverb, CSR Inverse Reverb.

There an extensive collection of plugins included. They offer presets that amateur and semi-professional engineers apply for mastering and single tracks. IK Multimedia keeps adding T-RackS 5 presets made by experienced professionals. In mid-Januar designed presets are available from Dave Way (Michael Jackson to Paul McCartney, the Foo Fighters), Earle Holder, Tom Lord-Alge, and Nick Davis (Genesis, Mike and the Mechanics, Deep Purple, Marillion).

Several of the modeled units sound very analog and produce the glue. Overall you get better sounding tracks kind in a very end-user friendly way that also allows beginner and semi-professionals to get lovely results.

New plugins in the latest version T-RackS 5 are

  • ONE, an integrated mastering box
  • EQual, an EQ modeled after classic API, Neve, and SSL consoles
  • Dyna-Mu, a compressor based on the variable mu (gain) tube compressor design. It appears to be similar but not the same to the Manley Vari-Mu.
  • Master Match, a slightly new twist on corrective EQ, like but not the same as a  Voxengo’s Curve EQ or Tokyo Dawn Labs’ Nova GE.

Master Match is one of the newly added features tries through automation and analyzing of reference tracks you select improves your master track. Master Match works by using a reference track and Master Match rates EQ findings across the references track and employs a comparable EQ setting on your master. It changes the loudness level of your track to match the reference track. Beside mastering tracks, this feature is very interesting for sound design. Master Match will place at the end of the chain in the plugin chain. This plugin will get you closer to a sound and not replace a season mixing and mastering engineer.

If you use the plugin collection on the master bus (stereo out bus) you can through presets and the different effects add warmth and smoothness to your tracks. T-RackS 5 can enhance the tone and harmonics and glue everything together.

T-RackS 5 MAX EQual

User interface & Usability

T-RackS 5 got a significant redesign bringing the design to modern application look and feel. The windows can now dynamically resized. Overall a much-needed redesign with well selected colored and a structured UI. I just love the new UI!

Rating:  Five out of five stars

T-RackS 5 MAX is a bundle to get started in the mixing and mastering world. Even when you have similar plugins, you get additional tones from the modeled EQ and compressor. The results you get from T-RackS 5 MAX sounds exceptional, with the updated interface the plugins are on the current level of the similar tools in this market. You get some very useful presets and will find yourself very impressed with the results.

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T-RackS 5 MAX by IK Multimedia Review
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